In Polish there's an expression Słomiany zapał which is a play on words, Straw enthusiasm and Straw going ablaze.

The idea is that straw burns with a very bright flame but the fire dies out very quickly. The fire is not sustaining and produces little heat in the long run. Following this metaphor, the expression describes a significant (and very common) vice of engaging in new projects with outstanding enthusiasm only to lose interest in them before they reach their fruition.

Is there any counterpart to this expression in English?

  • The term does exist in German as Strohfeuer, literally "straw fire".
    – Stephen
    Feb 4, 2013 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


I'm not aware of a direct idiom for this vice. However, you might consider flash in the pan for once-off efforts, or just short-lived enthusiasm for more general usage.

It's a good expression though—I'll probably use it!

  • "Flash in the pan" is not good expression for short-lived enthusiasm. It is a "fake start", which describes failure. You can say it when some misleading signs made you happy because you thought something good started to happened. On the other hand, straw enthusiasm emphasizes positive trait of a person - huge passion in the early stage of activity. Jun 10, 2020 at 10:46

Enthusiastic beginnings with a short attention span are the nominal symptoms of someone with ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While this started out as a clinical diagnosis, people have co-opted ADHD as a general-purpose adjective to describe this sort of behavior even without a proper diagnosis.

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